Tee time in Malaysia

KLGCC has long been positioned among the best golf destinations in Asia.

THERE is nothing quite like swinging a golf club to rid one’s mind of its tangled webs of stress and worries. Being outdoors surrounded by nature, the scenic view calms the mind, while the fresh air boosts serotonin.

With Malaysia boasting more than 140 golf courses of top-notch quality, there is really no need to venture beyond the borders for international-level golfing. The diversity of the courses, thanks to Malaysia’s wide range of natural wonders, means that golfers can pick whichever landscape suit them best – be it the rainforest, pristine beach, or mountainside.

Johor is home to some beautifully-designed golf clubs. The Senibong Golf Club (previously known as Poresia Country Club), for example, features an 18-hole golf course. Golfers find relaxation while playing here as they take in the view of the surrounding areas.

Golfing next to the sea at Malaysia’s integrated destination resort, Desaru Coast in johorGolfing next to the sea at Malaysia’s integrated destination resort, Desaru Coast in johor

The Forest City Golf Resort has two golf courses and takes full advantage of its glorious natural surroundings. Its 18-hole Classic Course is set on a flat marsh land, while its Jack Nicklaus Legacy Course – designed by the eponymous golf legend and his son Jack Nicklaus II – displays a desert-like landscape that would make golfers feel like they are being transported to the Middle East.

First opened in 2008, Horizon Hills Golf & Country Club has established itself as a premiere facility within the region’s golfing fraternity in a relatively short period of time. Its course comprises a resplendent, breathtaking, and highly challenging work of sporting design situated within a 485ha freehold township in the heart of Nusajaya, which is itself a key flagship development for the Iskandar Development Region.

Meanwhile, bearing the surname of four-time major golf champion and former World No.1, Ernie Els, The Els Club is no doubt a golfer’s paradise.

There are three Els Club courses in Malaysia, with Johor being the proud home to The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course and Valley Course. The former is a 27-hole course crafted by Els himself, which overlooks the South China Sea, while the latter is an 18-hole course designed by three-time major champion Vijay Singh.

An aerial shot of Damai with the South China Sea in the background.An aerial shot of Damai with the South China Sea in the background.

The third Els Club course is on the island of Langkawi in Kedah. Called the Els Club Teluk Datai – Rainforest Course, it is an 18-hole par 72 championship golf course redesigned by the aforementioned legendary golfer, Els. Surrounded by the lush greenery of centuries-old forest and the turquoise water of the Andaman Sea, the Datai club’s stunning vista unsurprisingly earned it the Best New Course in Asia and the Best New Course in the World accolades at the 2014 World Golf Awards.

The fascinating island of Borneo is an interesting golf destination as it is home to biologically diverse flora and fauna that are hardly found outside of the island.

Malaysia is lucky to have two states – Sarawak and Sabah – on it, and both offer unparalleled golfing experiences.

The Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu.The Sutera Harbour Resort in Kota Kinabalu.

Damai Golf and Country Club in Santubong, Sarawak lets golf players take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Located 35km away from the state’s capital city of Kuching, it allows golfers to go back to nature as they take in the view of Mount Santubong while playing along the rocky outcrops, beaches and mangrove forests.

Sarawak Golf Club (or better known by its Bahasa Malaysia name: Kelab Golf Sarawak) is located just 10km away from the city centre, and is among the top destinations for golfing in the Bornean state.

Its 36-hole golf course is divided into two: the north-facing Siol/Demak course and the older south-facing Matang/Santubong course that offers a clear view of the mountains it is named after.

Over in Tuaran, Sabah, guests at the Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club are in for an ultimate golfing experience. Its 18-hole championship golf course is akin to a rejuvenating nature retreat, as it is bordered by two rivers, while the majestic Mount Kinabalu looms in the background.

However, those looking for a more conveniently situated golf course may opt to visit Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club in Kota Kinabalu city instead.

Located a mere 10-minute drive from the Kota Kinabalu International Airport, the club offers a 27-hole championship golf course designed by Australian tour player turned golf architect Graham Marsh. Its location within the city centre also makes it easier for guests to indulge in some shopping – and feasting – when they are off the course.

Moving up north of Peninsular Malaysia, Bukit Jawi Golf Resort in Penang makes for the perfect weekend getaway for golf enthusiasts. The idyllic resort dotted with swaying palm trees features two golf courses, each with its own set of challenges that will appeal to different types of golfers.

The Hill Course, an 18-hole par 72 championship course, is perfect for big-hitters. As its name dictates, the course includes uphill drives and sloping surfaces for a more dynamic experience.

Meanwhile, the Lake Course is an 18-hole par 72 course that presents more water hazards, with a signature 15th hole green that never fails to impress even the most seasoned of golfers.

Arguably a must-visit for golf enthusiasts is the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) in Bukit Kiara, KL. The club has played host to several prestigious international sanction golf tournaments like the PGA Tour – CIMB Classic, European Tour – Malaysia Open, and the LPGA Tour – Maybank Championship.

The KLGCC is also a recipient of numerous accolades; in 2022 its West Course was voted the number one golf course in Malaysia and number 19 overall in Asia by Top 100 Golf Courses. Its East Course is also a favourite among golfers, as the parkland-inspired course is challenging but also highly rewarding.

Meanwhile, Glenmarie Hotel & Golf Resort is the place to be for golfers in Shah Alam, Selangor who are looking for two verdant championship golf courses within one award-winning establishment.

Pine trees and serene waterways in the Valley Course exude a calming ambience, whereas lush greenery (and the occasional wildlife) makes the Garden Course perfect for nature-loving golfers.

Templer Park Country Club in Rawang, Selangor awaits golfers who seek tranquil surroundings as they play. The Bukit Takun limestone hill juts out amidst the greenery, providing an arresting backdrop for the picturesque 18-hole golf course. Fountains spouting on the lake add to the relaxing atmosphere.

For more ideas on nature-rich destinations for golfing in Malaysia, visit www.malaysia.travel/.

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